Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
SAVAGE, Gus (1925-2015)

SAVAGE, GUS, a Representative from Illinois; born in Detroit, Mich., October 30, 1925; attended the public schools of Chicago; graduated from Wendell Phillips High School, Chicago, Ill., 1943; B.A., Roosevelt College, Chicago, Ill., 1951; United States Army, 1943-1946; graduate work, Roosevelt College, 1952; attended Chicago-Kent College of Law, Chicago, Ill., 1952-1953; worked as a journalist, 1954-1979, and was editor and publisher, Citizen Community Newspapers, 1965-1979; a founder and chief strategist of black political independent movement in Midwest; campaign manager, Midwest League of Negro Voters, 1960; chairman, Protest at the Polls, 1963; chairman, Southend Voters Conference, Chicago, 1960; chairman, Committee for a Black Mayor, Chicago, 1976; unsuccessful candidate for election to the Ninety-first Congress in 1970; elected as a Democrat to the Ninety-seventh and to the five succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1981-January 3, 1993); unsuccessful candidate for renomination to the One Hundred Third Congress in 1992; died on October 31, 2015, in Chicago, Ill.

The HistoryMakers
Chicago, IL
Oral History: 2001, 6 Betacam SP videocassettes and 1 half-document box containing accompanying materials.
This oral history interview with Gus Savage was conducted by Julieanna Richardson on April 26, 2001 in Washington, D.C. In the interview, Gus Savage briefly describes his parents and his hardscrabble youth in Chicago and details his change in life goals after being drafted into the Army during World War II. Savage recalls his participation in demonstrations against discrimination in Chicago and details his various journalism positions held with the 'Nation of Islam', the 'Citizen' and many of his political endeavors. Savage discusses his various attempts to break the back of the Chicago Machine through upstart political movements, demonstrations and journalistic advocacy, as well as the role race plays in politics, especially in Chicago Democratic Machine politics. Finally, Savage details his efforts to elect black candidates to political offices in Chicago and he explains how he helped to promote the interests of African Americans, and gives his opinions on various black politicians in Chicago, including those who were Independents. Other subjects discussed include Harold Washington as a political Independent after running for mayor of Chicago in 1977, and Washington's tenure as mayor. Gus Savage gives a detailed account of the political machinations which led to the breaking of the Richard J. Daley-led Chicago Democratic Machine. He explains how Daley's unexpected death and vacated office opened a window of opportunity for black independents to make their move into city hall. Gus Savage shares several anecdotes from his U.S. Congressional tenure, notably passing affirmative action legislation, his intervention to preserve a slave burial ground in New York City, and the building and naming of a new federal courthouse in Chicago after Ralph Metcalfe. He explains in great technical detail the inner workings of Congressional committees and how legislation is really passed. Savage then comments extensively on the conflict in the Middle East and Israel, and explains his opposition to military funding for Israel. A finding aid is available in the repository and online.

  • "Gus Savage" in Black Americans in Congress, 1870-2007. Prepared under the direction of the Committee on House Administration by the Office of History & Preservation, U.S. House of Representatives. Washington: Government Printing Office, 2008.